Region 6-7A play kicked off Friday night. Here are four things we know after the first week of intracounty action.
The region’s best offense belongs to South
If there was any question coming into Friday night, South Forsyth’s 44-14 thrashing of Lambert provided an answer.
Kyle Durham (9 of 15 for 246 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT) averaged a gaudy 27 yards per completion, while Mitch Thompson continued his unbelievable start to the season with four catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Possibly even more encouraging, Tre Green carried the ball 12 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns, part of a 226-yard rushing performance by the War Eagles. All told, nine different players logged a carry for South.
The depth that head coach Jeff Arnette talked about before the season was on display, too, as backup quarterback Ty Watkins completed both of his attempts for 73 yards and a score. Through two games of limited action, Watkins is 8-of-10 passing for 167 yards and three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
South will face a winless Alcovy team on Friday, but a date with West Forsyth’s talented defense looms on Oct. 23 after the bye week.
Mutual opponents provide an important variable
It’s difficult to gauge how good a team is this early in the season, especially when there aren’t many shared opponents.
For instance, Denmark played Greater Atlanta Christian (3-0), Shiloh (1-2) and Lanier (3-0) to start the season and came away with an 0-3 record. But the Danes are now 1-0 in Region 6-7A play after a 20-10 win against a previously undefeated North Forsyth team.
In that same vein, West Forsyth fell to 2-2 with its loss to Mill Creek, but it’s clear that West is better than its record indicates. The Wolverines are a punt return away from being 3-1, and if you take into account the fact that one of their best offensive weapons — Oscar Delp — didn’t play in an 11-point loss to Cartersville, you might argue West deserves a better record than 2-2.
In a region where multiple teams appear capable of a deep playoff run, the Region 6-7A picture will become clearer in the coming weeks.
Pinecrest looking like a contender
There’s no formal ranking system for GAPPS 8-man teams — that we’re aware of — like one that ranks GHSA teams throughout the season. But for what it’s worth, Pinecrest is up to No. 4 in Maxpreps’ ranking of Georgia teams playing with fewer than 11 players.
The Paladins’ 32-7 win against Southern Christian (Ala.) pushed them up a couple of spots and gave Pinecrest its fourth win of the season. In fact, since falling behind 28-8 to Harvester Christian in the season opener, Pinecrest is outscoring its opponents 188-48.
Unfortunately, Pinecrest lost leading rusher Alex Jeffords to an injury two weeks ago on the first play of the game. Jeffords had an incredible start to the season, rushing 36 times for 550 yards and six touchdowns, averaging more than 15 yards per carry.
Oscar Lynch seems to have emerged as the big-play threat head coach Shawn Coury hoped he would, catching 16 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns — all team highs.
Meanwhile, quarterback Breckin Barbee has proven to be more than capable, completing 39 of 72 passes for 602 yards and nine touchdowns with three interceptions.
Pinecrest is looking quite comfortable in 8-man football, and the Paladins will end the regular season against one of the league’s top teams in Unity Christian, but Pinecrest’s success in 2020 signals that the Paladins shouldn’t face too much of a learning curve if they decide to jump back up to GHSA 11-man football next season.
North at West will be worth the wait
Can you say grudge match?
It was last November when a couple of passes managed to shift the region’s entire dynamic. First, a 56-yard heave from Drew Southern to Oscar Delp, then a 5-yard TD pass to Casey Cowart, which gave West Forsyth a last-minute win over North Forsyth, 22-21.
Now, each team comes into next week’s game carrying a loss that each team’s coach will tell you should have been a win.
North Forsyth, dominant through its first four games, surrendered 182 passing yards to Aaron McLaughlin, then another 171 rushing yards to the N.C. State commit. It was an uncharacteristic loss for a North team that surrendered 26 points through its first four games.
Meanwhile, West Forsyth allowed Mill Creek to return a punt for a touchdown inside the final minute Friday, spoiling a game the Wolverines had in hand. Paired with the fact that West’s defense kept Mill Creek’s offense out of the end zone the entire game, if Khamari Glover calls for a fair catch in that situation, chances are West escapes with a win.
Both teams will have plenty to prove on Oct. 16 when the Raiders visit The Den.
It’s just a shame we’ll have to wait a whole week.
Aaron McLaughlin, Denmark: 11 for 20, 182 yards, 3 TDs; 171 rushing yards
Azari Brown, Denmark: 3 catches, 67 yards, 2 TD
Tre Green, South Forsyth: 12 carries, 115 yards, 2 TD
Mitch Thompson, South Forsyth: 4 catches, 151 yards, 2 TD; 3 solo tackles
Kojo Antwi, Lambert: 3 catches, 69 yards, 1 TD
Gavin Morris, South Forsyth: 2 catches, 99 yards, 2 TD; 1 carry, 17 yards; 4 solo tackles, 2 TFL, 2 QB hurries, 1 pass deflection, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Breckin Barbee, Pinecrest Academy: 7 for 8, 125 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 3 carries, 12 yards, 1 TD
Tucker Hartsfield, North Forsyth: 7 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD
Peyton Streko, Forsyth Central: 5 carries, 84 yards; 102 kickoff yards, TD; 4 tackles, 1 INT
Noah Chol, Forsyth Central: 6 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD; 1 rush, 5 yards
Oscar Delp, West Forsyth: 6 catches, 205 yards, 2 TD
Kobe Haynes, West Forsyth: 10 tackles — 4 solo — 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry
Dalton Tjong, West Forsyth: 9 tackles — 4 solo — 1 TFL, 1 INT